Environmental Law

The first pollution control act federally was to provide for research, for the science of understanding the source, control and toxicity of airborne pollutants. That was more than forty years ago. Today it remains the case that there are disputes between individuals, between individuals and companies, and between companies and governmental entities over the source, control and toxicity of pollutants, in the air, in the ground, in the water and in the products of the agro-business industry.

Much of environmental law today is statutory, implemented by complex regulations, and the tools of complex litigation are employed to determine the responsibilities for environmental participants.

The American Bar Association Section on the Environment, Energy and Resources has increased its spread through the profession, and the Section’s Committee on Ethics continues to look at the professional responsibility of practitioners: in the wake of reporting responsibilities for public corporations in the path of increased prosecutorial attention to those who have created environmental burdens, to whom must the lawyer reveal the conclusions of environmental responsibility? Who is the client? And what are the client’s needs?

NOTABLE CASES

Dockins v. State Farm Ins. Co., 330 Or. 1, 997 P.2d 859 (2000). The first case in Oregon establishing a homeowner's right to insurance coverage for cleanup of oil from underground storage tanks.

Orchard View Farms, Inc. v. Martin Marietta Aluminum, Inc., 500 F. Supp. 984 (D. Or. 1980). Punitive damages awarded for airborne trespassory emissions from aluminum plant, to enforce emission controls and compensate for further harm beyond economic loss.